HAMILTON/WENHAM — Wenham Town Administrator Anthony Ansaldi and Hamilton Town Manager Joseph J. Domelowicz Jr. announce their towns came together to raise unity flags at their respective Town Halls this week in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month.
LGBTQ Pride Month is recognized every June in remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a significant moment in the Gay Liberation Movement, according to the Library of Congress. Pride Month seeks to acknowledge the historic impact of the LGBTQ community, and worldwide celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, concerts and other gatherings. This June marks the 50th anniversary of Pride.
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The flag raisings were held on Thursday, June 25 in conjunction with the newly formed Hamilton-Wenham Human Rights Coalition, a local advocacy coalition working to eliminate systemic inequality.
“This is an incredible moment of progress and celebration for our Towns. Visibility and support for historically-marginalized groups like our LGBTQ+ neighbors is a crucial step in building a truly inclusive, loving, and equitable community,” said Hamilton resident Anna Siedzik, the spokesperson for the Coalition. “We are thrilled to see the Towns of Hamilton and Wenham officially adopt the Unity Flag, and the HW Human Rights Coalition looks forward to planning a variety of community events during Pride Month in the years ahead.”
The Pride flag was raised at the Wenham Town Hall at 10 a.m by Fire Chief Stephen Kavanagh and Deputy Police Chief Kevin DiNapoli. Approximately 40 residents came out to attend the flag raising. At the conclusion of the flag raising, the bells at the First Church of Wenham were rung.
Rev. Mike Duda of the First Church of Wenham said that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often reminded us that “the long arc of history bends toward justice”. He added, “That bending can take decades, even centuries; we are now seeing it happen after eight minutes and 46 seconds. I pray that this will not be just a moment, but a movement, for the journey is long to continue bending that arc. Raising this flag today is a public affirmation that justice is only justice if it is justice for all.”
Since Monday, June 22, the Wenham Town Hall has been lit up with the Pride colors at night. The display will continue each night through the remainder of June in honor of the month-long celebration and residents are encouraged to drive by to see the display.
“There are cries out across our county for social justice and acceptance regardless of one’s sexual orientation, ethnicity or the color of their skin,” said Ansaldi. “This week, the communities of Wenham and Hamilton came together sending the message that all are accepted and welcomed in these communities. I would like to thank the Hamilton-Wenham Human Rights Coalition for bringing this important message to the forefront.”
Hamilton officials raised their flag at the same time on Thursday. Approximately 15 residents joined members of both Hamilton Fire and Police Departments, including Police Chief Russ Stevens, and Town Hall staff for the flag raising.
“The events over the last month have only further emphasized the need to come together to support social equality for all who make up the Hamilton and Wenham communities,” said Town Manager Domelowicz. “We’re proud to honor this important month in the social justice movement and for the important work the Human Rights Coalition will do towards furthering these important conversations.”
The flags will be flown until Tuesday, June 30.